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Journal of the Operational Research Society (Special Issue)

Operational Research in times of crisis: Experiences with COVID-19

The history of OR began in the times of crisis when scientific research was used to improve military operations. One of the founders of OR, Patrick Blackett, advocated for scientists to advise on matters of strategy and tactics. Since the war, OR has spread into business, government, public services, education, defence and beyond, improving performance and helping people make evidence-based decisions.

Most of the problems OR tackles are messy and complex, often involving considerable uncertainty. OR uses advanced analytics, modelling, problem structuring, simulation, optimisation and data science to determine the best solution to the problem and the best practical course of action. OR is also called the Science of Better. Science of Better implies improving business, government, society, etc., by using models, proposing interventions, implementing them, and determining the actual improvements.

COVID-19 represents an unprecedented time of crisis and OR scholars and practitioners have taken an active role in developing models, proposing interventions and implementing them during this time. This special issue (SI) will publish rigorous accounts of OR practice through high quality, original papers not published or submitted elsewhere.


We are interested especially in:

  • The interplay between models and judgement.  In times of crisis, judgements are important in scoping a problem, making forecasts, and assessing the impact of alternative actions. In all of these areas, data may be scarce and so judgement is inescapable, but well-designed models can reflect, inform, and challenge these judgements.​

  • OR tackles messy and complex problems that may require the combination of one or more methods. Applications of multiple OR and non-OR methods that provide strong advancements of OR theory and methodology. Applications from interdisciplinary teams using relevant data and multiple perspectives.

The Editors-in-Chief of JORS will manage this special issue with the help of a minimum of one reviewer to achieve a faster turnaround.

  • Opening Manuscript Submission: July 1st, 2020

  • Closing Manuscript Submission: November 1st, 2020

Lastly, please follow the JORS Instructions for Authors. We will follow a strict enforcement of the word limit.